During the 1920’s and 1930’s, a Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. W.S. Sadler (1875-1969) became very interested in an unusual case. Sadler had been asked to examine a patient after the patient’s wife noticed he was talking in his sleep, and seemed to be speaking for various super-mortal personalities, called revelators.
The name of the patient has been kept secret and the exact manner of communication is not clear. However, Dr. Sadler insisted that this process did not involve spiritualism, channelling, or automatic writing. The contact’s personality was entirely unconscious (asleep) during the transmission, and had little or no interest in the process when awake. The material that eventually became the Urantia Book was received during the years 1934-35.
Sadler organised a group of interested persons, called the Forum, to review and discuss this material. The Urantia Foundation was founded as a non-profit educational and publishing group in 1950. It is administered by a five-member board. It has been publishing the book in English since 1955.
More recently, it has expanded their activities to translate the book into many other languages. Their main office is in Chicago, IL. However, they have branch offices around the world.
The Urantia Brotherhood was then formed. In 1996, the Foundation forced the Brotherhood to stop using its name; the latter became the Fifth Epochal Fellowship in 1989. The Foundation relented in 1999, and the Fellowship changed its name back to the Urantia Book Fellowship.
According to the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Urantia_Book), The Urantia Book is a spiritual and philosophical tome that discusses God, science, religion, history, philosophy, and destiny. Sometimes it is referred to as ‘The Urantia Papers’, or the ‘Fifth Epochal Revelation’.
Apparently, the mission of The Urantia Book is to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth in an endeavour to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception. Among many other topics, it expands on the origin and meaning of life, describes humankind’s place in creation, and presents a biography of Jesus. The book is 2.097 pages long, and consists of a foreword and 196 papers, divided into four parts.
The Urantia Book introduces the word Urantia as the name of the planet Earth. ‘Urantian’ is a derivation used to denote anyone or anything that originates on Earth. Colloquially, the word ‘Urantian’ is sometimes used to denote an individual who admires and believes in the book, but this meaning is not found in the book itself.
The Urantia Foundation first published The Urantia Book in 1955 in English. Translations into numerous languages are available. In 2001, the English version went into the public domain. Free, searchable editions of The Urantia Book can be found on the Internet.
As was mentioned previously The Urantia Book was originally published in English, during 1955; it has since been translated into Finnish, French and Spanish.
The Urantia Book contains four parts, composed of individual essays contributed by celestial beings of various orders:
- Part I: The Central and Super-universes.
- Part II: The Local Universe.
- Part III: The History of Urantia.
- Part IV: The Life and Teachings of Jesus.
There are many concepts in the book which are directly traceable to earlier works by human authors, including scientists and early Seventh-Day Adventists teachers. The celestial revelators explain that they are required to make use of existing human concepts wherever possible.
There have been four other major events in the history of mankind, which also contained important revelation from celestial beings. The life of Jesus is considered the fourth. The Urantia Book is regarded as the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
It is difficult to summarise its teachings. Here are a few selected concepts:
- The world is viewed as one of 10 million inhabited worlds in our local universe called Nebadon.
- God the Universal Father is the ultimate source of all things, and is also knowable as a loving personal being.
- The Universal Father can act in concert with other deity personalities in a complex association of three trinities, The Trinity of Trinities.
- The book describes a form of theistic evolution which deviates from the Bible’s account in Genesis, Chapter 1 and 2. It also does not fully agree with Naturalistic Evolution, as it is currently understood by scientists.
- Just as lower animals evolved into humans, we are destined to evolve and become spirit beings, called ‘finaliters’. The book details our long progression of spiritual experiences on other, more advanced, worlds.
- The book teaches that a fragment of God’s spirit dwells within each person; this is called a ‘Thought Adjuster.’ Its role is to guide the individual towards greater spiritual understanding through many lives on other worlds.
- The book corrects the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and the concept of atonement. Adam and Eve did not ‘fall,’ although they fell short of their mandate to uplift humankind. People today do not suffer from original sin, and thus do not need to be redeemed by the blood of Christ. They are inherently children of God.
- The book counters many beliefs that Christians have traditionally held about the nature and message of Jesus Christ; it expands upon his known teachings. They refer to Jesus by the English translation of one of his actual names: Joshua Ben Joseph. They view him as the 7th incarnation of Michael of Nebadon, the 611.121st Creator Son of God. Christ is believed to have toured the Roman Empire with two people from India in the years preceding his ministry. He is believed to have died on the cross and resurrected in a morontial body (an intermediate state between matter and spirit). As such, he was visible to numerous disciples before his ascension. He now is the sovereign of our universe, where he ‘represents and actually embodies the personality presence of the Universal Father’.
- Jesus boldly proclaimed the spiritual equality of women at a time when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue. The book explains that Jesus appointed twelve women evangelists, and these women remained faithful even when his apostles denied or betrayed him.
- The book attributes the following teachings to Jesus:
- ‘Prayer is self-reminding; worship is self-forgetting.’
- ‘Worship must alternate with service, work should alternate with play, religion should be balanced by humour, profound philosophy should be relieved by rhythmic poetry, the strain of living should be relaxed by the restfulness of worship.’
- The world’s religions are all beneficial, ‘to the extent that they bring man to God and bring the realisation of the Father to man ... all contain truth. The Hebrews based their religion on goodness; the Greeks on beauty; both religions sought truth. Jesus revealed a God of love and love is all-embracing of truth, beauty, and goodness.’
- True religion ‘is to know God as your Father and man as your brother. Religion is not a slavish belief in threats of punishment or magical promises of future mystical rewards.’